The Raven Boys Book Review

Ah, The Raven Cycle, a series I’ve visited quite a few times. To date, I’ve never been able to finish this pesky series, and I’ve never really known why. In an effort to find out, let’s take a look back to the very first time I picked up Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.

This is one of those series that delivered itself, in a neatly wrapped package topped with a bow, to the top of my TBR list, courtesy of social media and stellar reviews. I was starting to feel that in order to keep my reputation of being a bibliophile intact, I had to read this series.

Around a year ago, I started to read the Raven Cycle series. This first book did not disappoint, and I have never once faltered in this opinion during my re-read. However, the second book posed more of a challenge. I could not get into it for the life of me and over time, I gradually came to except that it was never going to happen. We were syrup and waffles, reader and book. Two things many firmly believe ought to be together, but I just couldn’t stomach.

Time passed, and somehow, the mysterious and mystic Raven Cycle series was yet again in my hands, waiting to be read. I gritted my teeth, this time determined to finish this series and know, once and for all, if it really was worth all the hype. This time, fueled by determination and, I’ll admit, more than a little love for Maggie Stiefvater’s writing, I made it through the first two books. Unfortunately, this is where I came to a halting stop; I was unable to get into the third book. The last half of the second had taken too much energy and I was ready to go back to a more enjoyable read. I’m hoping this isn’t where it ends for me, halfway through the adventure that encompasses the raven boys. I loved the first book so much, a part of me sincerely hopes the Raven Boys will prevail. Here’s to just about the longest intro ever, so without further ado, my review on book #1 in the Raven Cycle Series.

First off, the descriptions in this book blew me away. I actually started looking for elite boarding schools I could join, or googling pictures of  Henrietta, Virginia just to see if I could experience even a crumb of its beauty through the computer screen. Maggie Stiefvater picked me up and took me to a world I never wanted to leave. It was full of magic and mystery, freedom and friends. Her world building was phenomenal and intricate, more tightly woven than… whatever the weaver wove from all her human hair.

It wasn’t an all-at-once information dump, but instead falling into Stiefvater’s version of Henrietta was slow and sweet, filled with excellently timed elements she used to introduce her characters.  My love for the cast was strong and determined from the beginning. The raven boys were simply irresistible with their unorthodox spirits and character arcs. Gansey is the embodiment of every teenage dream: smooth, sweet, and swoon-worthy. Blue is the true essence of confidence in oneself and following one’s intuition. Adam is a workaholic with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Ronan is, well, sharp. Noah is a pumpkin, sweet, but not always around. These characters make up the heart and soul of the book. Their character development is so exquisitely detailed, it’s hard not to fall in love with them all. The only character who I feel needs more representation in this department is Noah. Out of the entire group of friends I felt like I knew Noah the least. Additionally, I felt like the pages were lacking some quality Orla time as well. Even though she is only a supporting character, she should have a  more solid foundation than a paper thin (haha) personality and background. The POV switches were done tastefully and were artfully incorporated into the overall plot, adding depth to the story instead of length to the page count. The book was, by the way, a very enjoyable length, an easy read for a few days.

What differentiates this book from most YA novels, in my opinion, is the romance. It doesn’t strangle the plot but instead adds a realistic flare as Blue negotiates the rollercoaster most teenagers face in their adolescence. Her relationship is not overpowering in a way that deters the course of the book or portrays young girls as desperate and obsessive. Instead, we see her enter and exit a myriad of emotions as she juggles her pre-held accusations, surprising desires, and the fear that comes with her own giddy innocence. not to mention the prophecy that predicts her lover’s death, all while withholding her own values and goals. It’s truly an impressively balanced book, romance-wise. With that said, I would’ve liked to have seen a deeper emotional understanding of the relationship. The events that Blue and her troupe faced were monumental and very intense for such young characters. In response, it would’ve been more realistic if we had seen how these actions and decisions truly affected the thought processes of them. Every action has an effect, no matter how small, and I would’ve loved to have seen how that played into the decisions and anxiety Blue feels later on.

One thing I did find unrealistic, however, was the amount of freedom the main characters had to tramps around with. Adult supervision is almost nonexistent, which may be appropriate in some cases due to the fact that Gansey, Ronan, and Noah live on their own. Still, the overall lack of guidance is extremely underdone.


All in all, TheRaven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater is a thrilling, mystical tale with a wise and witty tone behind it. I definitely recommend giving the series a try! And if you’ve already read the book… does anyone else really want to know a real-life Persephone, too? She seems like such a neat and eccentric person I’d love to have a conversation with! Nope? Just me? Okay. Anywho, 5 out of  5 stars!!

Stereotypes I simply CANNOT read any more

Readers have spoken. Here’s what it seems just about everyone is sick of reading.

-The parents of a villain being evil or dead

It would be interesting to have a villain who was raised without hardships and is just evil for the fun of it. Not everyone evil was once nice, yes a killer (quite literally) backstory makes for a riveting read. Albeit, overall a unique character is what will keep me reading the story. I’d like to clarify that many characters have interesting backgrounds WITH nice, perfectly sane parents that are still alive. It is definitely possible.

-Love triangles

I hear a lot of people grieve and gripe about these, so I’ve given them their fair slot on this list. I personally don’t mind a well written, realistic love triangle every now and then. Unfortunately, the number of times they are unrealistic and thrown into the story for the heck of it, is ever increasing. Whenever an author gets into the funk of writing a book they think their readers want to read vs what they want to write, quirky things like random unexplained love triangles always get put into the mix. It’s a shame this trope has earned itself such a dicey reputation.

-Gender Stereotypes

Valley girls, rich girls, nerds, geeks, jocks, etc. This is a list that could go on for miles. I go to school with human beings, so the people in these YA books I’m reading must be aliens. They are so far out and different compared to reality. Authors have a bottomless pit of characteristics to pick and choose, mix together, but they stop after one. A person is not only a jock. A person is not only their money or ability to do makeup. I know there are many books out there that have fallen prey to this, but I’m sure there are even more that haven’t.

-City girl meets country boy

I think this was a cute idea when it was first introduced, but the amount of books its now monopolized makes reading somewhat monotonous.

-Forbidden love

Oui with the poodles already! (if you can tell me what this is from let’s just say I’ll be highly impressed). This is only iconic when it’s found in classics such as Romeo and Juliet. Its become overwritten to the point of exhaustion. I’d like a new outlook on forbidden love, a story that’s unique and NOT told in a hundred different only slightly varying books (if you have suggestions, I’m in dire need).

-Dark broody men with no redeeming qualities other than being handsome

Been there, done that, like 1,000 times. It’s media like this that makes girls think it’s okay to date a douche as long as he’s sexy. WRONG. This even ties in with the gender stereotypes just a wee bit. Men do not have to be brooding, handsome, mysterious, etc. to be deemed desirable in another’s eyes.

-Skinny girls with unrealistic love lives

Talk about toxic media. I’d like to see all body types without any special spotlights going to a character just because of their body type. Being skinny doesn’t guarantee anyone a date (or a rom-com worthy romance).

-Emotionally distant heroines

Personally, I need to be able to step into the heroine’s shoes. They need to be relatable and riveting to keep me turning pages. Humans are not emotionless. They have feelings, thoughts, and the ability to form opinions. Therefore the characters in the books I’m reading (who are not robots) should too. (Except in Cinder but she’s only 36% cyborg hehe).

I tried to incorporate everyone’s answer that I received, but there were just so many! Here are a few that I completely agree with! Comment your opinions, I’d love to know!

Kingdom of Ash Thoughts and Opinions

It’s been less than 5 minutes since I’ve finished Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas and I’m still crying. My mind is just in awe, or maybe shock. Since I don’t know many others who have read this, throughout the book I’ve had to keep my thoughts to myself. So here is where I will ramble in hopes to ease the weight this book has put on my thoughts. THERE WILL BE MANY SPOILERS. So beware.

Spoilers ahead.

I’m not kidding.

You better not keep reading if you’ve never read the book.

Anyways, I needed more. There were so many lovely characters, unique and just overall brilliant. Aelin had a lot of intricate relationships and I felt like there was too much fill in the blank. I wish there was more dialogue and interactions with her and all of her court, in particular, Elide, Fenrys, Lorcan, and Ren. She doesn’t really get one on one time with these people and it made it harder to get to know the real dynamic behind their relationships.

This book brought forth in me a love for Fenrys I didn’t know existed. I didn’t understand how, after months of torture together, Aelin and Fenrys didn’t have more of a highlight in their interactions. I had hoped, because of the shared trauma, they would’ve been inseparable for at least a while after she escaped. Another thought of mine: Aelin recovered awfully fast for having been tortured for three months, I personally wish Maas would’ve gone deeper into detail with Aelin’s mindset and her thoughts; putting more of a spotlight on her recovery.

I’m also not sure how much of a fan I am of Rowan and Aelin being all lovey dovey. Yes, I know they’re mates. I love them as mates, they might just be my favorite to people, ever.  But I was head over heels for Empire of Storms, how Aelin was cunning and crafty, hiding truths and revealing big surprises. Granted, I didn’t want Kingdom of Ash to be just like Empire of Storms, my point is only that I wish Aelin hadn’t gotten so mushy and soft when it came to Rowan, and that she still kept things from him, on a larger scale than what happened in the book.

On another note,  I find it upsetting Aelin’s scars just disappeared. I’ve actually heard this opinion a few times, I believe. Her scars were symbolic, they meant a lot, and they were just washed away. I’m not sure how I feel about that, or the lack of her near depth less magic. I know I shouldn’t love a person just because of their magical abilities, but I think fire was a big part of Aelin and taking most of it away broke my heart. I understand why it happened, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m happy about it. In fact, it even makes perfect sense, ar cannot be won without sacrifice.

After contemplation and proper time to wrap my mind around the entire book, I realized something. This isn’t necessarily bad, nor did I notice it right away but, there are many similarities between the A Court of Thorns and Roses series and this one. The first one being that both Rhysand and Aelin knew that they had mates but they refrained from telling them, out of their unselfish and unconditional love for them.Not only this, but in general I felt like Aelin and Rhysand had very similar personalities. In particular, they were both burdened by the weight of having to save everyone, their responsibilities as leaders and they were both willing to sacrifice everything. They also both spent long years imprisoned, going through considerable mental trauma and torture. Another similarity is how Aelin and Rowan got married in secret as did Rhysand and Feyre, and it’s revealed when both Aelin and Feyre are in enemy hands. Och, having them both reveal they were married was just about the cutest darn thing I’ve ever read, so fear not, this is not a complaint. Just pointing out facts.

Okay I believe my rant is over. I’ve finally stopped crying now, and for that I’m glad. It feels as if a long time friend of mine has just left me, disappeared from my life. I will never be able to read this book for the first time again, but I have high hopes that they’ll create a time machine in the future, enabling me to travel back and reread this whole series again for the first time. Fingers crossed. Sorry you had to read my disgustedly informal rant. The comment are open. I’d LOVE to discuss any part of this series with you!

Splintered

Some of my favorite stories are created when an author can take an old tale, add a crazy twist, and make it completely their own. This being said, I often find myself driven towards fairytale retellings. It’s really something special when you can take someone else’s old idea and make it new. At a cute little bookstore in Washington a few weeks ago, I was hoping to find one of these great stories in Splintered, by A. G. Howard.

The story starts off well enough, showing us what regular life looks like for our main character. Howard adds some family history, helping to build to the storyline. Then comes the call to action, but in this category, I’m disappointed to say that the characters’ reactions were stereotypical and easy to guess. The same goes for their personalities. For the entire book, I kid you not, Alyssa, the main character is waiting for her hunky boyfriend to come to save her. On the hunky boyfriend’s side, he actually acts like her dad. He tells her she’s not allowed to do things, and she actually listens! She looks up to him and acts like a lovesick puppy dog, never getting mad at him, even when he’s at fault!

Morpheus, another love interest of the main character, has a somewhat more unique personality. Though, on occasion, we see him falling into the bad boy stereotype. Instantly, towards the beginning of the book, I feel like the author almost incorporates Alyssa’s love life into the hook. She kind of uses instant love, with hunky boyfriend and with Morpheus, but at the same time, she describes, in lacking detail how Alyssa has known both boys practically her whole life. So it might not be instant love for the main characters, but for the readers, it sure seems it. We don’t get enough interactions between Morpheus and Alyssa to justify her strong feelings towards him.

Going into the world building, I adore the somewhat similar, yet altogether a wee bit different Wonderland Howard created. The only thing I would’ve enjoyed there being more of was an explanation of Wonderland politics and drama. Towards the end, things became a bit tangled and I found myself having to repetitively go back and reread, in attempt to fully comprehend the insane twists and wild ending. Granted, the twist may be predictable, but all the small details that go along with it are a surprise.

I would have immensely enjoyed this book better if I could stand the main character. I think it’s still worth a shot to try the next books, in hopes she grows up and develops as a person better. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Fire Flies Glow Only In The Dark

One thing I absolutely adore about the bookstagram and blogging community is the support. Just a huge group of people all with a common passion, helping out and inspiring others! So when I saw the gorgeous Ruth Morse, someone who I had found through bookstagram, had published her very own book, I knew I had to read it! As some of you may know, I’m typically more into books of the Fantasy genre, so giving this book a try was like stepping outside of my comfort zone. I’m glad I did.

This book follows Lana, a girl who has gone through a lot. She’s facing family problems and depression. As the story first starts, we are given hints at her background through nightmares. Then Max is introduced. He’s a guy similar to Lana in the fact that he too, carries his own emotional baggage. The story becomes one of two people, helping themselves and each other grow and heal through their relationship.

While I know all the basic facts about Lana from reading, I don’t know that much more. I wish Morse would’ve added additional happenings that really showed more about Lana. I feel like it’s difficult to fall in love with her and Max as a couple if I know so little about her. On to Max, he’s a cool guy. I love the mystery around him and his background. The fact that I didn’t know exactly what was up with him kept me reading.

Them together was a little hard for me to grasp at first, due to the fact that they had an almost instant relationship. They didn’t go out and do much or experience much together before they were already in love. Nevertheless, the dialogue between them was sweet and they did go on a few pretty run of the mill dates. I understand someone seeing a guy and thinking, “oh, he’s cute” but falling in love in such a short amount of time, granted I don’t have diddly squat in the experience department, seems a wee bit too good to be true. My feelings toward them together changed for the better towards the end of the book though.

I felt like the ending was rushed, I would’ve really enjoyed more time to get to know Lily, a girl who supposedly means a lot to Max and grows to mean a lot to Lana so I could understand more of her relationship with the two main characters. Max knew Lily for a long time, she was like a sister to him. Lana had only just met Lily and I felt like there was too much of a focus on her emotions. On the trip, I would’ve enjoyed if Morse also focused on how Lana helped Max with his own emotions. Because of what happened, as a reader, it would’ve had more of an emotional impact if there was just more. More interactions at the hospital, more developments in Lilly’s case.

Ruth’s writing was really creative and her descriptions were unique, most of the time. While in other sentences, I felt like her statements were pretty basic and cut and dry. She’s a great emerging author and she’s teeming with potential!

This was a sweet, charming, heartfelt book, that was really fun for me to read! It was a step into a genre I haven’t read in ages, but for this gem, I’m glad I did! I may have nitpicked a little… okay maybe a bit more than that, but I truly encourage you to give this book a shot! This book is beautiful both inside and out! I give it 4.5/5 Stars.

The Darkest Minds

About two years ago, little Liv and little Ky met at a musical theater camp. We bonded over our shared annoyance with our mutual friend and soon Ky came to my school. We spent the whole year becoming closer and closer because of our love of books and our perfect combination of weirdness and intelligence. She often lent her books to me, and one of those books was The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, a fellow Phoenician. In honor of the movie based off of that book coming out yesterday, I reread the book and will be reviewing it currently.

First thing first: I love this book. I love the characters, I love the humor, I love the storyline, and I love more. I am incredibly happy that it has made it as far as to become a movie, and I am so excited to see it (with Ky, preferably, if I can drive down from Flagstaff in time). The cast is amazing (I love Amandla Stenberg) and I can’t wait to see them in action!

Anyway, onto the book. The Darkest Minds takes place in America, not too far into the future. Children are being affected by a neurodegenerative disease called IAAN, which either kills them or gives them powers like telekinesis, telepathy/mind control/empathy, photographic memory, electrokinesis, or pyrokinesis. Each power is categorized by a color, whereas telekietics are Blues, telepathics are Oranges, the smart ones are Greens, electrokinetics are Yellows, and pyrokinetics are Reds.

Ruby is Green—supposedly. The way she was classified as a Green was this: she simply took her doctor’s arm and willed him to think that. In reality, she is a dangerous one, and she knows it. It’s a good thing she tricked her doctor, too, because Reds, Yellows, and Oranges were all taken away from her rehabilitation camp called Thurmond. But the PSFs, the soldiers that keep track of the surviving children, are catching on that some dangerous ones escaped their reach. They tested out a new frequency of White Noise (sounds that torture the kids with powers because only they can hear it) that did more harm to dangerous kids, and Ruby was down for hours. The woman who treated her in the infirmary was different, and she helped Ruby escape Thurmond before she could be killed.

While they were on the run, Ruby and the woman who helped her stopped at a gas station to meet others, and while they were in there Ruby saw a little girl stealing food. She followed her, only wanting to ask her how she was safe, and after a huge commotion Ruby ended up on the road with the girl (Zu) and her two companions (Liam and Chubs). She joined them on an adventure to find a safe haven for kids like them, and finds love along the way.

As I stated earlier, I love mostly everything about this book. Alexandra Bracken does a magnificent job at imagery and description. I feel as though I am Ruby, never mind just being in the book. The book is an amazing read if you love dystopian books with a little bit of magical powers.

Though I don’t have many issues with the book, that doesn’t mean I have none. One thing I question is the logic of the book—how do these kids get these random powers? Do all humans have these powers and the sickness just unlocks them? Why are there only five powers? I honestly feel as though there would be millions, like the X-Men. Also, from a student’s view, what’s dangerous about a photographic memory? Why do Greens need to be tossed into a camp for being smart?

If I were able to ask one question to Alexandra Bracken, though I have many because I am such a huge fan, it would be this: Were you ever apprehensive about limiting the number of powers to five? That’s the thing I’m hung up on after rereading the book. How are there only five powers? If I were to rewrite the book, I would categorize the kids by their level of danger: there would be no set number of powers, but certain children would be more powerful than others.

I’ve searched throughout my memories from the book and I really can’t find anything else wrong with the book. Alexandra is an amazing author. I need to read more of her books. I’m very excited to see the Darkest Minds movie, and I hope you are too! But my advice is to read the book before, because the book is always better! I rate this book 4.5 stars out of 5.

Academy of Assassins & Heart of Assassins

This week I re-read Academy of Assassins by Stacey Brutger because I found out the second book was released! I was very excited and tore through not only the first but also the second book, Heart of Assassins. I’m happy to say that these books are amazing! I’m almost ashamed to admit this, considering how cheesy and repetitive these books can be, but for some reason, I love them anyway. But for the sake of this review, I suppose I’ll nitpick a little.

The first story starts off with fantastic world building. You understand all the dynamics and everything that’s going on. But as you make your way to the second book, things become confusing. I found myself often looking back and re-reading passages multiple times, in an attempt to comprehend the story. They throw you into an alternate universe with little background information.

Moving on to the main female character, Morgon: I love, love, loved her! For what feels like the first time in forever, I completely agree with everything the main character does. She’s a strong female, but she’s been through a lot and it shows. She has doubts like a normal person and she’s never described as perfect. Onto the romance side of the story. Ever heard of a love triangle? Well, this is even more insane! Morgan is in love with 5 people, and those 5 guys are all head over heels for her. Those guys are also described as being perfect, setting unrealistic body expectations for men and for girls to have in men. One of these men, Kincade, thinks it’s his right to push Morgan around, telling her what to do and controlling her life. Morgan still loves him through this, making it seem acceptable to treat people in a similar fashion. Another main character, Atlas, really develops in the second book. We get to see a little more of his thought process and get to know him as a person better, whereas in the first book he’s mostly described as having indifference towards everyone. Although, as a reader, I find it odd and unrealistic, that in the first book Atlas doesn’t want anything to do with Morgan. He ignores her and whatnot, then in the second book he describes Morgan as being his world ever since he met her, but he’s just now showing it in the second book. I realize Atlas has many reasons for hiding his feelings, but I feel like it shouldn’t have been such an extreme change in emotions from one book to the next.

Lastly, while Brutger is a lovely writer, a few of her descriptions became old and repetitive towards the end of the second book. I hope in future books her writing grows and evolves more. I definitely plan on reading them!

In general, I’d love to see more female friends for Morgan. Not everyone she meets and associates with has to be in love with her. But that’s just tiny—I love a good romance!

I know it sounds like I didn’t like a lot of things in this book, but this was me really nitpicking every little thing that slightly annoyed me. This book is fabulous! If you can deal with a little bit of cheesy-ness and stereotypes then I highly recommend! I couldn’t put it down! 4 out of 5 stars.

Delirium

A while ago the book Delirium by Lauren Oliver was recommended to me. As a young girl, I thought that it would be a good read. I read it, and I loved it. But, I got caught up in a different book after and completely forgot about it. Therefore, I have recently refinished it in order to catch up before I read the rest of the series.

Delirium takes place in the US in the future, more specifically in Portland, Maine. In this futuristic society, love is declared as a disease. Yes, a disease. In this book, there is a cure for love, and it is required that every citizen receives it when they turn eighteen. In the beginning, I began to think that was a bit childish, but later in the book, I realized how rational it is.

The story follows Lena, whose mother could not be cured of love and committed suicide. Lena cannot wait to get the procedure to prevent love. But Evaluation Day, the day where her whole life is decided for her, is interrupted by a group of rebels from outside the borders of each city, called Invalids (a word which has a double meaning in this book). While a stampede of cows is running through her Evaluation room, Lena sees a boy watching her. And he is laughing. Later in the book, Lena reunites with this boy, named Alex. Alex has a secret, and his secret will change the course of Lena’s life forever.

As the book went on, I noticed many things I loved about it. First, the masterful character development. Lauren Oliver described Lena’s feelings and her changes of heart and basically everything about her perfectly. Everything makes sense. Lena begins by needing the procedure to take away her ability to love and slowly transitions into hating it and needing Alex instead. Lauren Oliver clearly knows everything about her character and becomes her when writing her.

Another thing: plot twists. Seriously, some twists in this book made me squeal. I won’t spoil anything, but a lot of things change. Although, I would’ve liked the twists to have given me more whiplash. The twists all seem to be quick, but the transitions were smooth. However, it all depends on what types of books you prefer.

As a writer, I admire how well Lauren Oliver describes her places and people and senses. Actually, I admire her writing skills in general. But, I often found myself skipping through lengthy sentences. I probably missed a few important things because of how boring I found them. If I were to have edited this piece, I most likely would have separated some sentences into shorter ones, to keep people reading.

In total, Delirium is a very good book. It took a few chapters for me to willingly read it, but in the end, I’m glad that I did. I enjoyed how well Lauren Oliver wrote the main character, and I loved the plot twists. Her writing is amazing. I rate the book a four out of five stars. Now, onto the rest of the series!

Buy the book here!

Shadow and Bone

The last few weeks I’ve found it increasingly difficult to find a good book to read. I just can’t get into any of the stories or seem to sit still long enough to read. As some of you may know, I’ve been constantly traveling with hardly a moment to collect my thoughts let alone crack open a new book. Some would call this a reading slump. I would agree.

A few days ago, in desperate need of a book to review for this week’s blog post, I picked up my third book of the week. One of the 8 books I packed in my suitcase to bring with me across the country. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo has cured my restless mind ladies and gentlemen.

The story immediately picked me up and carried me away to a place where setting down my book is not an option. I spent the entirety of the night with a flashlight swinging from the top of my tent and the pages of my book turning with an almost desperate fervor to find out what happens next.

The book instantly starts by throwing you into this simply one of a kind world created by the wonderful mind of Leigh Bardugo. Although it’s a bit slow to completely explain all aspects of the Grishaverse world, many things can be assumed through careful attention to detail. I admire the main character, but I look forward to getting to know her on a deeper level in the coming books.

While reading the second half of the book I often found myself wishing the author went through more of Alina’s thinking processes. She made many decisions towards the end I felt didn’t quite match up with her character from the beginning of the book. I 100% understand she changed both mentally and physically from the beginning of the book to the end; I’d just like to see her change happen slower and more realistically.

Huge props for the plot twist, it’s rare I find one I didn’t see coming. I think for many others, though, the plot twist will be slightly more obvious; unfortunately, I was blinded by the Darklings’ good looks and easy charm, same as Alina I suppose. I hate to admit it, but towards the end not only did things seem rushed but Alina and Mal’s reconnection seemed awfully cheesy to me. And talk about predictable.

I will admit I simply loved the author’s descriptions of secondary and even background characters. I found it easy to like people like David, Genya, Marie, Nadia, and Baghra with Alina (the main character) having only little interactions with them. Overall I’m looking forward to the last book for a multitude of reasons; reason number one this book being phenomenal. A definite four out of five stars!

Buy the book here!

Ash and Bramble

Recently I found myself stumbling upon the book Ash and Bramble by Sarah Prineas. Having read the description, I was instantly in love, thinking “this is right up my alley!” Then I started to read. Right up my alley… maybe three years ago. The dark, twisting tale of the Fairy Godmother actually being evil has so much potential. Sadly, that was all this book had.

This book would’ve made a great trilogy; when the author tried to cram all of the information into one book, the result was confusing, to say the least. There were nearly no character arcs, nor was there any development for the main character Penelope (or Pin). She’s there, and she exists. She doesn’t really seem affected by all of the crazy stuff happening around her, in a character building, personality altering way. The first good 100 pages, we barely know Pin or how she got to the Godmother’s fortress in the first place. It really makes it hard to relate to her and like her if we don’t know anything about her.

I think that overall if there were a prequel to this book, we would’ve gotten a better idea of the world in which the characters live. If we knew Pin, the whole memory loss thing had the potential to bring lots of feels. I know I would’ve cried if my favorite character just lost all her memories, that is if I actually knew enough about her first to care. (I have cried when my favorite character lost their memories—in the Legend trilogy. Marie Lu really knows how to bring the waterworks, but that’s a story for a different review.)

Onto the fact of the instant love triangle. I mean, come on! She knows Shoe for a whole of two days and suddenly he’s in love with her? And can we take a moment to acknowledge that for a good ¾ of the book his name is Shoe, and then, out of nowhere, the author just decides to sometimes call him Owen… so now we’ve got two completely different names for the same person! I understand he doesn’t have a name—whatever. But if I suddenly don’t remember my name, Shoe would be the last thing on my mind, considering it’s not an actual name. Besides his name, though, I’ll have to say that Shoe was the reason I finished the book. His character is the easiest to come to know and love. I’ll even admit I felt a little worried for him towards the end.

Another thing that infuriates me is that Pin (Pen, whoever!) did not even try to bring back her memories. The author brushes off the idea of Pin knowing her past and her mom (all things that would help us understand the book better) seemingly just because she’s too lazy to make it up. I’m not sure, but I do know there was not enough explanation of who Pin’s mother was and why she was important. I like where she was coming from with the idea of the story, but honestly, I was just confused. Was the Fairy Godmother the real antagonist or was it the story? Also, why was the Godmother serving the story? All Pin used was a thimble to destroy the story. A thimble which the godmother had an almost exact replica of…

Although I have found some major issues in this book (in my opinion), this is a good book if lack of detail and explanation doesn’t bug you. Maybe kids ages 10-13 will find it appealing. I’m not sure why it was classified as young adult. I rate it two out of five stars.

Buy the book here!